Cheers for a Dozen Ears

Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of CountingCheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting is brimming with summer fruits and vegetables. The second in a series of rhyming picture books, Cheers counts from one watermelon to a dozen ears of corn with a family who takes an August trip to their favorite farm stand. In writing Cheers I was inspired by a visit with my son—in preschool at the time, and learning to count—to a farm stand on the road that leads to his elementary school. But I was also remembering similar visits with my own mother, who taught me and my sisters how to pick out fresh produce at local farm stands in northern New Jersey, where I grew up. I hope readers will enjoy this rhymingly ripe and colorful way to count summer’s bountiful blessings, from eggplants to blueberries and even green beans!

Along with Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes, Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of Color, and Sun Above and Blooms Below: A Springtime of OppositesCheers for a Dozen Ears is published by Albert Whitman & Company and wonderfully illustrated by Susan Swan.

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The team behind the shapes-focused Pick a Circle, Gather Squares returns with a counting book that emphasizes eating fresh, local produce. A mother and her two children with sun-varnished faces and mussed hair, visit a farm stand, first selecting “1 watermelon so smooth and round./ 2 purple eggplants that weigh two pounds.” Vibrant variations in color and composition in Swan’s collages point to the myriad of edible treasures to be discovered at the fruit stand or farm. Chernesky closes by underscoring the importance of supporting local growers: “But first, put some money in the can./ Farmers work hard to feed the land.” Ages 4–7.—Publisher’s Weekly

PreS-Gr 1—This farm-stand adventure takes youngsters on a lively shopping excursion, counting from 1 to 12. Effective for sharing both with a group and one-on-one, crisp rhyming text creates a high-energy atmosphere that will appeal to even the youngest fruit and vegetable lovers: “Dog day August/and it’s steamy hot./Let’s take a drive to/the farm stand spot.” Armed with Mom’s list, two enthusiastic siblings start collecting: one watermelon, two eggplants, and so on, all the way up to a dozen ears of corn. Mom mostly stays in the background, but she occasionally intervenes in this orderly collecting to add more items (green beans) or put some back (berries). The chunky, layered art in bright colors calls forth the deliciousness of late summer, though sometimes the many details can make isolating the objects to count a challenge. Overall, this hearty picture book serves as an encouraging prompt to practice counting while grocery shopping as well as a great warm up for the next trip to a farmer’s market.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA, School Library Journal

On a hot, steamy day in August, a brother and sister visit the local farm stand with their mother. As they gather fruits and vegetables, the rhyming, rhythmic text switches into counting mode, featuring numbers from 1 to 12 and leading off with “1 watermelon so smooth and round. / 2 purple eggplants that weight two pounds.” Checking for items on Mom’s grocery list, the children find items such as “stinky onions,” “fuzzy peaches,” and “fresh-picked corn,” before pausing for a last-minute addition: a sunflower. It’s an everyday excursion for these kids but an evocative, vicarious experience for young children who don’t have a farm just down the road. While there’s a bit of humor in the easy-going text, the book’s jovial spirit is created chiefly in the lively digital collages, which combine cut-paper elements with painted effects for a richly colorful visual experience. This pleasant picture book makes a flavorful read-aloud choice, best savored in the summertime. —Carolyn Phelan, Booklist

Cindy: What a perfect title for this book. When our farmer’s market finally opens, I will be cheering! Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting (Albert Whitman 2014) is the perfect tonic for we who are weary of winter…children included. In fact, I have to disagree with the final line from the Booklist review that this book is… ”best savored in the summertime.” Perhaps that is true under normal circumstances, but after the winter we’ve had here in Michigan I can’t tell you how this book cheered me from the bright colors to the promise of fresh produce available at our Farmer’s Market. With it still snowing on the first day of spring here, tasty berries and yellow sunflowers seem a distant possibility. On a hot August day a mother takes her children on a drive to a country farm stand and the counting begins… “1 watermelon so smooth and round…2 purple eggplants that weigh two pounds”…etc. The bouncing rhymes and the digital collage art combine to make a joyful addition to early nutrition units and might encourage picky eaters to help select the food the family buys (although the children are working off mom’s list in the book). My list is ready…now I just need spring to sprout!

Lynn:  “Dog Day August and it’s steamy hot.”  Oh – if only!  It’s March 22 and only 17 degrees here as I write this.   I am with Cindy on this enticingly illustrated book.  Don’t wait till summer for this.  Use it to remind winter-weary children that summer and all that fabulous produce will be here eventually.  Pair it with another book on plants to lift spirits just the way we gardeners look at seed catalogs when the snow is falling. I am crazy about Susan Swan’s bright mouth-watering illustrations.  Her website says that she creates digital cut paper/mixed media illustrations and I love the rich colors and interesting textures of her work.  This steamy August day feels so real from the stripy wasps on the fuzzy peaches to tomatoes so red and delicious looking that I want to bite one.  I think kids will love counting the items of produce and the story opens the door to to a wide range of classroom uses.  And what a lovely reminder that someday the snow WILL melt! —Bookends: A Booklist Blog, Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

A family goes to the farmer’s market and picks out fresh food to make a meal. Illustrations and text explore a variety of fruits and vegetables while focusing on counting skills.—“Books, Outdoor Inspiration: Adventure,” MetroParent

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I always think it’s fun to read books that introduce fruits and veggies to kids. It’s a nice way to read about food and help them understand that fruits and vegetables are good to eat. (I don’t know that reading about them makes them eat them at home, but I can try and help the parents out at least!) Cheers for a Dozen Ears is the perfect book to add to my food themed storytime. It pairs wonderfully with Rah, Rah, Radishes. You can even add in the board book We’re Going to Farmers Market for a full storytime about fresh foods. With rhythmic, rhyming text, the kids make sure to get all the items on their list. From eggplant to squash, peaches and green beans, the family counts as they add items to their cart. The bright colored illustrations capture the feel of a hot summer day. A fun book that incorporates counting and food that makes a nice addition to storytime.—Sarah, Picture Book Month, Green Bean Tean Queen

Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky is a colorful ode to summer and fresh food recommended for young readers just learning to count or for those who enjoy all the yummy treats that summer brings. This picture perfect counting book provides us with a look at summer’s freshest produce. The text describes a family visit to the produce stand at the height of summer. We count vegetables and fruits from 1 to 12 before ending with the nice statement that “farmers work hard to feed this land.” The illustrations are bright, colorful, unique, and guaranteed to draw the eye of your children with effective textures and patterns. Each item is easy to count and the numbers are displayed prominently on the pages.—Kid’s Book Blog

Two kids and their parent go to a farm stand to shop for garden goodies. They buy 1 watermelon, 2 eggplants, 3 peppers…all the way to a dozen ears of corn. This simple rhyming counting book has brilliant illustrations.—“Get Ready to Plant! Books about Gardening,” Best Blog for Kids Who Hate to Read

Can fruits and vegetables be beautiful? Yes they can! Set in August when’s it’s “steamy hot,” Cheers for a Dozen Ears is a colorfully illustrated counting book that celebrates a family’s trip to the farmers’ market. This book will make you hungry for fresh tomatoes and beans, watermelons, peaches, and more. I could see using this book to build excitement about visiting the market and the farmers who bring their produce for sale to we lucky consumers here in Kalamazoo. A trip to the market is ripe with opportunities to see text and numbers in action. Why not start with this cozy counting read-along? —Kalamazoo Public Library, Staff Picks

In a celebration of summer crops and family outings, Cheers for a Dozen Ears takes readers on a trip to a farmers market during a hot day in August. Children can count and rhyme their way through favorite summertime fruits and veggies, including watermelon and a dozen ears of corn. There is plenty to see on each page of brightly colored collages. Find a cozy spot in the shade to read this book before your next outing to the local farmers market.—Hudson Library & Historical Society, Great Books for Kids 2014

A family goes to a farmer’s market and picks out fresh food to make a meal. Illustrations and text explore a variety of fruits and vegetables while working on counting skills.—“Literary Feast for Young Foodies,” Milwaukee Public Library Reader 

Susan Swan’s amazing illustrations steal the show in this simple counting book that encourages kids and adults to buy fruits and vegetables from their local farm stands. The vibrant colors will keep young children interested in the basics of counting and eating healthy. All of the fruits and veggies at Watermelon Acres farm stand look so delicious that you might want to have some of your own to munch on as you read! After getting everything on Mom’s list, the kids decide to add one more item. Felicia Sanzari Chernesky writes, “Add a summer sunflower from the jar. Now let’s take this garden to our car! But first, put some money in the can. Farmers work hard to feed this land.”—Youth Services Librarians, Williamsburg (Virginia) Regional Library, Pied Piper Picks 

Pre-K and Kindgergarten, Stamford Public Schools, Summer Reading List 2014

Children’s Easy Fiction, Stillwater Public Library, June 2014 Special Book List

Cheers For A Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky, illustrated by Susan Swan is throw back because it reminds me of going to the farm market as a child. My mom and aunt would can fruit and vegetables and it brought me right back to childhood.The rhyming text counts its way through the farm stand with wonderful college art. Susan Swan is one of my favorite collagers (new word?), on her website she calls herself a digital cut/paper mixed media illustrator. When it comes to collage and all those textures you can get messy very fast. This title has a lot of texture, beautiful color, and it keeps the mess to a minimum. The bees are very Eric Carle like; the outdoors depiction makes me want to go outside and enjoy the wonderful day; and as a whole the artwork makes me reminisce about my Aunt Sylvia’s 8 day pickles. I’ll use this book in Storytime for preschool and Kindergarteners. This title will also fit into Early Literacy by calling on background knowledge or building on it. It will be fun to recreate the story by having the children Play! with counting out the number of fruits and vegetables.  When children act out stories, they build background knowledge and they learn how a story works. —“Throw Back Thursday,” Picture Book Palooza

This is the second collaboration between author and illustrator in which they pair a season with an early learning concept, in this case counting. Their earlier work was entitled Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes. The collage illustrations capture both the seasonal and counting concepts.—“Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer,” Kenton County Public Library, A Wynk, a Blynk, and a Nod to Books